Posts Tagged ‘Online Safety’

Social Media New Year Pledge 2021

As we close 2020 and move into 2021 (can I get an “AMEN”?!), it’s time to meet the new year with a pledge for online safety & good social media etiquette. This is updated information for 2021! (See 2020’s Social Media New Year Pledge here.)

Take the Social Media New Year Pledge for 2021!

Social Media New Year Pledge 2021

For a deeper dive into each one of the bullet points of the pledge, read below.


Know Friends & Followers

Let me address your Personal Facebook Profile (this is not your Facebook Business Page) and your Instagram Account.

Personal Facebook Profile Friends:

I hope by now that you are NOT accepting every friend request that crosses your path without doing a little search about the person.

– Who are mutual friends?

– Does the Profile look real? How new is it? How often is it updated?

When in doubt, click the “Delete Request” button.

Personal Facebook Profile Followers:

Are you aware that people can follow you personally without a friend request? Do you know who is currently following you? My guess is you will be surprised.

On a computer (not the app), go to your Profile.

  • Click “Friends”.
  • Choose “More” and click on “Followers”.
  • Who ARE these people? If you feel uncomfortable with anyone following you, BLOCK!

Instagram Account:

BEFORE following an account back, click on it and determine if it’s real.

Red flags:

  • You don’t recognize the name or picture and the account is “Private” (block!)
  • For Women: the account is someone dressed in military uniform or scrubs; leaning against a car, plane or boat; shirtless and showing off his muscles/six-pack; OR with a child or animal etc. (I hate to tell you, but that isn’t the person following you!)
  • For Men: the account is a scantily clad woman. (Again, I hate to tell you, but that isn’t the person following you!)

You are putting yourself and all of your friends at risk when you accept requests from people you do not know. Take a look at the profile and make a better decision.

Refrain from Taking Facebook Quizzes!

Taking quizzes could put you at risk for identity theft. You do NOT need to know which Disney Princess you are or what color your aura is from Facebook!

Verify Page Information Before Engaging with Contests

When you see an opportunity to win something BIG by sharing on Facebook, you should think DANGER, DANGER! (Examples: RV’s, Vacations, Southwest Tickets, etc.)

Likely the Page is not the “real” Facebook Business Page for the Business. Look for these clues:

  • Does the Page have an official blue checkmark next to its name?
  • Have you checked to see when the Page was created? Newer Pages with big contests are always scams!
  • How many followers are on Page holding the contest?
  • Do a search on Facebook for the Page Name. My guess is you will find the real (blue check verified page).

If it seems too good to be true, IT IS!

PS: If you see a post that says something like, “Winner Jack Smith was underage, so you get a second chance”…please do NOT engage. This type of contest typically asks for you to click on a link and provide personal information to win. DO NOT click OR provide any information and report the page as spam!

Resist Sharing “Copy & Paste” Posts 

When you see something that everyone seems to be copying and pasting, do some research first to find out if what you are seeing is real or fake. These include posts about Facebook stealing your photos, charging for use etc. It also includes some of the missing persons, sick kids, etc. Do your homework before blindly passing on.

In addition, when you copy and paste, a hacker can search Facebook (or any social platform) for a phrase from the post and then find the people that shared it. This makes you a target for a scam or hack because you appear more gullible if you are one that will copy and paste something.

CANnonDo: When you see “copy and paste”, DON’T!

Research Before Sharing “Breaking Stories”

Before posting something showing “breaking news”, do a quick Google search!

  • Is the information from a reliable source?
  • Have you read the article/blog/news or just the headline? If just the headline, go back and read the information and then research for accuracy.

Stop Passing Along Chain Letters Via Facebook Messenger

You receive a message via Facebook Messenger that requests you to post something to your wall (like a heart) and/or to share with at least 10 or more of your friends or something similar. These are chain letters.

Chain letters can help spread links to phishing scams that steal online account credentials or malicious websites that infect computers or mobile devices with viruses, spyware, ransomware or other malware.

Receive Permission Before Adding Anyone to Email Lists

Having an email address does not give you permission to add anyone to any list. Neither does having a business card or making a LinkedIn connection. Adding without permission is considered SPAM. It also violates some laws that can carry with it some hefty fines.

If you have a list and want to add someone, ASK THEM!

Be safer online in 2021!

By taking the Social Media New Year Pledge 2021 and following the guidelines, you are well on your way to protecting your reputation online. You are also protecting the people that follow you.

Here’s to a safe, healthy and successful New Year in 2021!

social media manipulation on facebook

Social Media Manipulation on Facebook

Social Media Manipulation on Facebook

You’re being manipulated online.

I am too.

We all are.

As technology advances, it is increasingly difficult to avoid online hackers and disinformation. Social media manipulation is running rampant and it is predicted to only get worse with the 2020 Presidential Election.

Protect Yourself by Knowing Who Runs The Business Pages You Like

You would be surprised to learn that content you are sharing may be owned from someone outside of the United States. For this reason, Facebook created “Page Transparency for every Facebook Business Page (see images and examples below).

You can access this information on your computer or on the Facebook App. Additionally, you can also see current and past ads that are run by each Facebook Business Page.

An Example of Facebook Page Transparency

The page below “God bless Donald Trump and God bless America” appears to be about the President. Take a look at the Page Transparency. Russia and Ukraine are the countries this page is being managed from.

Facebook Page Transparency Example

Below is a post that was on this Page. A friend of mine shared this Post, not knowing it was designed to manipulate and deceive.

Facebook Post Example That Creates Social Media Manipulation

When she shared this content, she had no idea that she put her online safety at risk.

Here’s how and why:

  • Political posts from outside the United States are designed to go “viral”, by collecting the friends lists of those who share the content.
  • Seemingly innocuous posts, written to elicit your emotions, are effective in getting the most shares.
  • Oftentimes, the post information is not based on truth.
  • Because the post is in your feed, you are likely to NOT pay attention to the accuracy of the post. By not paying attention to the source, the emotion you feel causes you to share and/or comment on the post.

Cute Animal and Sick Children Posts Elicit Emotions and Receive Shares

Another common online emotional social media manipulation trick is to use “I bet I won’t get one share”. Showing pictures of puppies, sick children, lost relatives, etc. is great click bait.

Here’s an example:

Facebook Post Social Media Manipulation Example

In this Facebook Post, it manipulates you in the status update for a “Like” AND in the text written on the picture that asks you to “Share”.

When I looked up the Page via Facebook, it appears that the organization is from Chicago. Would it surprise you that this isn’t accurate?

Inaccurate Facebook Page Location Example

Do you see the country Kosovo on the Page Transparency? It is managed in this country.

Facebook Page Transparency Example 2

Check Out the Ads Run by this Home Improvement Tips Page

This Home Improvement Page that has almost 5 MILLION followers! That’s a goldmine of followers for a foreign entity that may want to influence women.

Similar to the other Pages, this one looks innocent enough and the content seems to relate BUT, let’s take a look at the Page Transparency. The country locations that manage the page are Georgia, Canada and Pakistan. Note that this is the country of Georgia (in the Caucasus region of Eurasia), not the U.S. southern state of Georgia!

Noe look below at the ads running for this Page. All of them are political or polarizing in nature. Why would a “Housemaking” Facebook Page run ads that have nothing to do with your home?!?!

Facebook Ad Examples From a Page Supposedly About Home Improvement

One More Social Media Manipulation Post Example: Missing Children Posts

Who wouldn’t want to help find missing children and adults?

Sharing this type of post MAY and DOES help.

By sharing a post that is FALSE (like the one below) it opens you and your friends to being hacked or targeted AND you also help perpetuate misinformation.

Hoax Viral Facebook Post About Missing Child.

BEFORE you share a missing child or person picture, be sure you are sharing accurate information.

  1. Go to the original post and note the date. Is the information current?
  2. Verify the source. See the white arrow above? is NOT a local website. Look for something from a LOCAL NEWS SOURCE.
  3. Check to see if the information is current. Google is your friend! Again, BEFORE sharing, verify whether or not the person has been found yet!

Note “Hoax Alert” below the post. Facebook is attempting to alert to false news. Be vigilant! Not every false story will be caught in this way.

Tips for Online Safety

BEFORE Liking or Following a Page on Facebook:

  • Read the profile
  • Check the Page Transparency
  • Verify the Page or Account manager
  • Review the Ads run by the page

DO NOT automatically follow or accept friend requests from people you do not know!

  • Is their account new?
  • How often do they post?
  • Do you have a lot of mutual friends?
  • Is this a cloned account and you are already friends on the real profile?
  • On Instagram, is their profile “Private”?

DO NOT share posts with sappy calls to action (puppies, sick children, etc.)

  • If it has a call to action that makes you feel sorry for the animal, person, situation etc., don’t share it!

DO NOT “Copy and Paste” posts. If those words are in the post, don’t do it!

BEWARE of Missing Person Posts. Follow the tips above to verify the accuracy of the information. If in doubt, go to Google and verify the information by Googling the person’s name.

Be vigilant.

  • If something causes an emotional reaction, CHECK YOUR RESOURCE!

If you found this article helpful social media manipulation and want more information about Social Media Safety, feel free to contact me.